ArmitageShanks
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Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:56 am

Seeing that everyday mercury is extremely corrosive to aluminum that made me wonder about the potential that would allow terrorists to use it to bring down an airliner.

I saw a show about various metals and in one segment it showed that mercury could corrode a thick aluminum beam in a matter of hours. Is this possible and do you think it could bring down an airliner on a long flight it enough was used in the right locations?

Also... are there any current restrictions about bringing items that contain mercury (thermometers, etc) on aircraft?

[Edited 2006-08-12 04:04:09]
 
474218
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RE: Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:12 am

Every manufacture provides a section in their Maintenance Manuals covering cleaning Mercury spills. You are correct that it is very corrosive to aluminum but with the corrosion protection applied to aircraft structure (anodize or alodine, primer and top coat) it takes more than a few hours to cause damage.
 
bri2k1
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RE: Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:32 am

I think someone would notice if they threw mercury all over a plane while they were boarding. Once they're on the plane, do they have access to any aluminum? I'm looking at some interior photos, and I don't think any passengers have access to structural components or skin during flight. It's not so corrosive to the carpet on the floor, so it seems highly unlikely to me. Just  twocents  though.

Not to mention, mercury is a metal, so it would probably set off the metal detector if carried on a person, and is poisonus, so it would be difficult to carry internally. It's a liquid under normal conditions, and you can't bring liquids on board right now anyway, so I'd say you have very little to worry about.
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Bobster2
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RE: Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:49 pm

TSA doesn't specifically mention mercury or thermometers, however mercury is certainly regulated as dangerous goods, and also covered under TSA corrosives restrictions.

Canada allows one small mercury thermometer in a case in passenger luggage. A large thermometer or barometer can only be carried by a government representative.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:12 pm

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):

Canada allows one small mercury thermometer in a case in passenger luggage.

Do they still make those?  Wink

I remember in Sweden you were encouraged to give them to pharmacies (as I recall) for disposal long ago.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Using Mercury To Bring Down An Airliner?

Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:11 pm

Mercury comes under DGR goods.It would be a long term damage to an Aircraft rather than a short term one.
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